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On Movements and Revolutions around the Baltic Sea: Part I

This post is part of a three-part series. Stay tuned for parts II and III.

It’s almost impossible to not open up a newspaper these days (or, let’s be real, click on our favorite news app on our phones) and read headlines about the latest protests taking place around the world. Demonstrators have taken to the streets in Belarus, Lebanon, Hong Kong, France, Bolivia, Afghanistan, Russia, Thailand, Algeria, Germany, and here at home in the United States. It seems that every corner of the world has been touched by unrest—unrest over failing governments, economic strife, racial injustices, crackdowns on democracy, corruption, and of course, the coronavirus, all of which have caused citizens to take to the streets to demand change.

In reflecting on this global protest movement, I found myself thinking back on my tour last summer, in August 2019, around the Baltic Sea, when I had the opportunity to visit (at break-neck speed) the countries of Sweden, Finland, Russia, Estonia, and Poland.

While we spent typically only a day docked at port in each country, and had limited time to visit major sites in the cities of Stockholm, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Tallinn, Visby, and Gdansk, what struck me most throughout the tour was not the delicious food, beautiful sites, and chilly weather, but rather the depth and richness of the history (as well as history in the making) associated with this region of the world, particularly with regards to movements and revolution. Today, the region, perhaps aside from Russia, is often thought of as peaceful and without unrest, but that has not always been the case.

Movements and revolution are no strangers to the countries surrounding the Baltic Sea, and so I’m inviting you to join me in this “virtual cruise” of both the Baltic Sea and its history in the next two parts of this blog series!

By Hayley Boyle, Vice President of Programs, World Affairs Council of Philadelphia

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